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Employment Brief: Romanian employers must implement a coherent framework for dealing with harassment at work

The Romanian legislator has recently imposed additional anti-harassment obligations on employers, with a focus on gender-based and psychological harassment, which relate to the:

(a) Methodology for preventing and combating gender-based and psychological harassment at work, approved by Government Decision no. 970/2023; and the

(b) Ratification by Romania of ILO Convention no. 190/2019 concerning the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work, with effect as at 5 April 2024.

This is another major step in an attempt to eliminate any form of unequal treatment, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace, which Romanian legislators have been working on over the years. 

Specifically, by 17 April 2024, Romanian employers must have implemented the following set of measures:

  • Procedures enabling employers to identify, investigate, and sanction harassment offences;
  • Clear specifics on how harassment can manifest and what should not be considered a form of harassment;
  • Internal channels for employees to report harassment offences;
  • Measures to protect victims, petitioners, whistle-blowers, including in terms of confidentiality, anti-victimisation and protection from retaliation;
  • Clear reporting rules to avoid frivolous complaints.

This required either a revision of the employee handbook (mandatory document in Romania) or the implementation of a separate policy or guidelines, to be appended to the handbook. 

In addition, these new pieces of legislation impose further requirements on employers starting with 17 April and onwards, such as:

  • Performing annual training to raise awareness, prevent, support identification, and sanction any behaviour which may be deemed as violent and / or harassing;
  • Keeping a harassment reporting register;
  • Appointing a person in charge / committee to deal with such complaints;
  • Keeping track of the number of complaints registered per year and how they were dealt with.

How to best integrate the new requirements with the pre-existing rules and internal processes (company or group level) on internal compliance investigations, whistleblowing and dealing with disciplinary cases is a legal and practical challenge.

Non-compliance with the above obligations is sanctioned with an administrative fine ranging between RON 30,000 and RON 50,000 (approx. EUR 6,000 – 10,000). We, however, expect a clemency approach from the relevant authorities for the next months at least.

For any further details or any clarifications on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.